Favorite films

  • The Insect Woman
  • The House Is Black
  • Near Death
  • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

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  • Naissant

  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    ★★★★★

  • Sex and Zen III

    ★★½

  • Barbarian

    ★★★

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  • Unfaithfully Yours

    Unfaithfully Yours

    ★★★★½

    Preston Sturges has such terrific control of rhythm that it’s no wonder he excels at blending screwball antics with classical compositions — there’s a musicality already built into his comic DNA — but don’t let the sheen of sophistication and glamour blind you to the dark, jaundiced worldview at work, not to mention the fact that almost none of the characters is sympathetic. A comedy whose situation is predicated on ignorance and hubris, Rex Harrison plays an English expat/psychopath longing…

  • Linda Linda Linda

    Linda Linda Linda

    ★★★★★

    One of my beefs with the majority of teen films, particularly those by Americans, is that they often don't let the teenagers be teenagers. Kids in these movies are usually in service to a generic plot that removes them from the experience of their lives, usually in an effort to generate crossover appeal, or the films exaggerate (and trivialize) adolescent trials and rituals for too-easy comedic effect. Linda Linda Linda cancels all that by letting its teenagers be teenagers, as…

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  • Naissant

    Naissant

    Fourteen minutes of a woman lying in bed, either sick or pregnant (likely the latter), smoking and contemplating, her subtle facial expressions registering boredom, anxiety, thought, etc. Part meditation, part sensory experience. Essentially a record of idleness: thoroughly mundane, repeating extreme angles and muted gestures, as if to urge the viewer to scrutinize the woman and our/the camera's perception of her more closely, so that we may deduce some deeper truth hitherto eluding our awareness. Intermittently tedious, but that's kind of the point.

  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    ★★★★★

    "There must, at a certain moment, be a transformation; if not, there is no art." — Robert Bresson

    Portrait of the artist as total aesthete, driven to aestheticize and mythicize his life and self in search of transcendence, yearning for harmonies and a beautiful death. Schrader neither apologizes for nor condemns Mishima’s actions, beliefs, and words — in fact, it’s one of his few scripts wherein he doesn’t administer subliminal judgements of his central figure — but merely forces the…

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  • The Shining

    The Shining

    ★★★★★

    A puzzle box for the ages: seemingly deceptively simple on the surface — it is, after all, the story of a man who succumbs to madness, eventually running amok while spending a winter with his family in isolation — but there’s more than one method of opening The Shining's myriad doors.

    What I’ll say is there are few films, horror or otherwise, which effectively portray white male hysteria and the terrifying upshots of such behavior. The movie refuses to explicate…

  • Hillbilly Elegy

    Hillbilly Elegy

    Maybe the single worst major American film I’ve seen in years. I mean, I don’t even know what Howard makes of these characters or what it’s all supposed to mean. I’d hoped this would at least illuminate something about the denizens of Ohio and Kentucky (the former is my home state), preferably sidestepping Jerry Springer histrionics and the tired stereotypes mostly perpetuated in more affluent parts of America, but there’s almost no perspective in this decisively apolitical quagmire. Just a…